i have never been the 'content in all circumstances' type of person. I blame it on my personality. i've always found it quite fun to look ahead and plan out the coming seasons with the new and better things i'd be doing-- and the new and better person i'd be. you know, like "right now i'm just a nanny and i live in NC, but next summer i'm going to travel to rural kazistan and work with orphans who have no legs and no food, right after my mission trip to an unreached civilization deep in the Amazon. and of course i'm also going to take some college courses to learn web design and start a business on the side. and then i'm going to take some acting classes and might try to be in a movie and make it big..." you, know, that sort of thing.
if i had had a blog 5 years ago, it's one goal would have been to make you super impressed and/or extremely jealous about all the things i was going to be doing at a later time, regardless of whether i ever got around to them.
becoming a mother, while it was what i have always wanted, was a bit hard in the beginning because of this trait of mine. i'd find myself dreaming of all these things that i wanted to learn and wanted to be doing, only to come back to the present and realize--wait...i don't have time to do any of that! i have to change diapers and nurse and make baby food and do the laundry and empty the dishwasher and get dinner ready. and then i'd find myself feeling quite pathetic, like i had no worth. i mean, what did i even have to show for myself at the end of the day? what did i add to society? how were my plans to finish mopping the floors by the end of nap-time going to impress anybody? i avoided the conversations that i once loved--you know, the ones where I share about all these "plans" that I have and the things that I will one day do and be. even if it were as small as what i was going to be doing the upcoming weekend. and it made me feel cool and seem really interesting. maybe i figured if i at least one day planned to learn this or that, or become this or that, or do this or that, then it would justify the fact that i was not doing any of those things now. i always wanted to be something that i wasn't quite yet but possibly could be one day.
are you following me?
i remember when i moved to NC and i had just gotten married and i wasn't a mother yet. i was getting to know a girl who is now a very close friend. she had two small children at the time. i was having one of these conversations of sharing my dreams and plans. it's how i affirmed myself. i thought that it would make others realize my worth. i proceeded to ask her about her plans. was she one day planning to go back to school? to start a business? surely she needed a plan to look forward to, to feel useful. to feel valuable.
but all that she said was "no....i don't really have any plans or ambitions. i'm actually just pretty content in being a wife and a mother. i don't know--is that wrong?"
it was profound. i had never considered this possibility. this idea of just being content. and i realized that it made her a much happier person than me. all of my dreams and plans actually tormented me and just stemmed from insecurity.
so to her comment i answered, for the first time (and from the heart), "wow, i sure do wish i could be like that."
and then about a year ago a miraculous thing happened. it was so subtle that it took months for me to realize that it had even happened. i hadn't strived for it, i hadn't worked hard at it. i had barely even thought about it.
i became very content.
i am suddenly content in my role as a wife and a mother. the humble appearance of these roles disguises the fact that they are the two highest roles that we are called to in life. Jesus Christ of Nazareth did say that to be a servant was the highest position in life, and both roles are essentially that--serving. in being a wife, and especially a mother, a woman is given the opportunity to become more servant-like a little more each day. if one is cooperative, each day she will become a little bit less selfless, forget about herself a little bit more, put others' needs before hers a little bit more, and care about the useless things in life a little bit less. all we are asked is to be faithful with what we are given. what i have been given is a husband and a child, and to put anything above those two would be...well, sinful.
and while there are certainly still things that i want to learn to do and things that i one day aspire to do, i feel perfectly content about the possibility that those things may be years down the road--maybe 20 years. and, most importantly, i don't feel that because i can't do them right away that it makes me less valuable in society. i no longer find my worth in those things.
these days my conversations feel shorter and perhaps even a bit more awkward. friends ask "what's going on with you these days?" and the answer is usually the same as last time they talked to me-- "same ole, same ole." the things that are going on with me now have more to do with what changes that are occuring in my heart, or the latest thing that i am learning. or, even more likely, the latest thing my son is learning and the funny things he does. and i am ok with this. in fact, i wouldn't want it any other way.
i am truly and undeniably happy with being a mother. i believe that i have great value, and that my job is quite possibly the most important job that exists. i love it,
i love my life,
i finally love the person that i am,
and i especially love the person that i am becoming.